The formal inauguration ceremony of a community eye care service instituted by Deepalaya in collaboration with the prestigious Ophthalmology Department of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was held on 16th March at Deepalaya’s head office in Janakpuri, New Delhi. The objective of “Deepalaya Vision Centre” is to provide quality eye care to the poor and underprivileged people.
Under this initiative, Deepalaya has started organizing free eye check up camps at its various project locations in Delhi, including Janakpuri, Sanjay Colony and Trilokpuri. In these weekly camps, BP and other basic eye care tests are conducted. Medicines are given on the spot by eye experts free of cost and those who need cataract operation are referred to AIIMS, where people are assured of a bed and food till they are discharged. The patients are called for a follow-up also at these vision centres.
The service that kicked off in the first week of January this year has reached out to more than 750 people in the last two months; 28 people have undergone cataract surgeries; and almost 400 people have been given high-quality spectacles free of cost. Mr. D K Manavalan, Retired IAS Officer and Executive Director, Action for Food Production was the Chief Guest and Dr George John, Former Vice Chancellor, Birsa Agricultural University, Ranchi was the Guest of Honour. Dr. Vivek Gupta, Assistant Professor, Mr. Amit Bhardwaj, Sr. Research Officer and Dr. Sandeep Bhardwaj from the Community Ophthalmology Department, AIIMS were also present among the dignitaries.
Mr Y Chackochan, President; Mr. Shaji P John, Treasurer; and Mr. T M Abraham, founder member and member of the executive committee; Mrs. Rajamma Chacko; and Mrs. Elizabath Philip also graced the occasion.
The function started with the lighting of the lamp by all the dignitaries and a welcome song by Mr. Himanshu and students from Tilak Nagar Learning Center.
Thereafter, Mr. A J Philip, Secretary and CE, Deepalaya welcomed the guests and attendees and discussed the idea and impact of the whole programme till date. Mr. D K Manavalan, Retired IAS Officer and Executive Director, Action for Food Production, who was the chief guest, lauded this noble initiative of Deepalaya and also donated Rs. 10000/- to Deepalaya. He discussed how these community eye check-up camps can be a step forward for preventing undetectable eye problems in our country.
Dr. George John, who has also sponsored the education of one child, spoke high about the eye care initiative.
Dr. Vivek Gupta informed the public about the Community Ophthalmology department at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences of AIIMS, and its legacy of involvement in community based activities such as comprehensive primary eye care services, camps, vision screening at schools and across the city, and so on. Mr. Y Chackochan, President Deepalaya also appreciated the efforts made by Deepalaya and support from Vision for All, the funding agency and AIIMS.
To do away with the monotony of the programme, a few children from Deepalaya Tilak Nagar Center presented a beautiful Rajasthani Dance. The guests and people, who were present on the occasion, applauded the dance. After the short dance performance, Mr. Amit Bhardwaj spoke about the concept of a vision center and informed that AIIMS is running 25 vision centers across Delhi, which are basic eye care services and intend at eradicating blindness.
The programme ended with a vote of thanks by Ms. Jaswant Kaur, Director CRM, Deepalaya.